Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's Just a Game, Right?

So yesterday at dinner, Emily was kind of solemn. Not in the usual "I'm 9" solemnity - but in the very grown up and guilt laden solemn.

She gave up one of her Nintendog pets for adoption.

For those of you 'not in the know' about Nintedogs - they are virtual pets made for the Nintendo DS hand held game system. You get this responds to your voice command. You play games and teach it to do tricks. You earn money to buy things for your dog and feed it, groom it, scratch it behind the ears, rub its belly, clean its poop. That sort of thing. (sound familiar moms and dads - it's called work)

So Emily says - "I think I did something wrong."
Me: thinking she cut her sister's hair, or sold her into servitude or something... "What did you do?"
Emily: "I just wanted to see if I could send Coco to the doggy hotel just for a little while and get my money back, but she's gone."
Hubby and I: not wordly in the ways of video gaming "?"
Emily: after explaining that the doggy hotel is the orphanage from whence said Nintedogs are adopted. " but I can't get her back. She was very disobedient anyway. I tried to teach her to play frisbee, but she just wanted to run around the yard and dig holes. I tried to groom her all nice, but she just wanted to roll in the dirt. "
Me: " So you'll earn money and adopt another dog. No biggie."
Emily: " I feel badly about giving up on Coco"

You see, Emily learned her first valuable lesson in parenting. She feels guilt about her failure -
not about the dumb virtual dog - but about her ability to effectively train the thing and have it respond the way she wanted. (sound familiar moms and dads? it's called parenting)

Me: "There isn't a day that goes by - hell, there isn't a minute that goes by - when I don't feel badly about something I did or didn't do as a mommy. But I can't just give up on the trying to do the right thing part and give up on you guys. I can't just drop you off at the kid hotel and wait 'til I have enough money to buy another one. I have to reflect and figure out what I did and what I can do differently the next time."
Hubby: "It's just a game, right?"
Me and Emily "...?..."

It's just a game, right? Or is it?


Hey - I just got an award from Nana's Box - if you haven't seen this what this gal does for people afflicted with the cancer you should. Thanks for the shout out, but how you could possibly compare my meager little blah -blah -blog to what you do for real people and real survivors ...well, I just don't see the parallel there. You, my dear Nana, are a doll.

And speaking of worthy causes - and as much as I hate doing this....I am participating the in Conejo Valley Relay for Life next weekend. I have volunteered for this 24 hour event for the past few years, but this time the event means something completely different to me. My wonderful father passed away this past January from rare form of skin cancer called Merkel Cell Carcinoma. He also had Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia ( the big C double whammy if you will). What makes this year even more profound is my own diagnosis, treatment and recovery from Thyroid cancer. I've blogged about all of this (go back to my February posts if you want, no need to link here) I actually sent out solicitous emails this year to have people donate to my Reasons to Relay - and am close to making my fundraising goal. If you want, you can support me by clicking here ... (your donation is 100% tax deductible)

I can't think of anyone whose lives haven't been touched by the scourge of cancer in some way, shape or form. Give up a couple half caf mochachino latte with pumpkin foams this week and click here.

A multitude of thanks to everyone!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Things Would Be So Much Easier if You Did it My Way

Rachel's little class performed at the once a month Tot Shabbat at our temple. She was so excited to sing her little heart out, wear her new fancy outfit, and enjoy the yummy treats provided after the performance. We made a big deal out of it (as we should) and had a special dinner with real table decorations, fake wine for the blessings (for the kids anyway- it's me we're talking about here) and a challah and everything. She is going to Jewish preschool afterall.
One of the songs is called "I've Got that Shabbat Feeling" and the kids sing that line followed by a different part of the body. Sort of the hebrew version of "Head, Shoulders , Knees and Toes". Funny thing is, the hebrew word for body is Goof. So now, Rachel is running around singing about having a feeling all over her goof. And I say You're being such a silly body!" (get it?)

Emily snapped this picture of me...not bad , huh? I was lookin' all (read: fairly) rested and proud of my little girl singing her guts out about having that feeling all over her 'goof' . She worked so hard to remember all the words and arm movements. It was adorable!

Or should I say - she was adorable. The other kids - I could do without. Or should I say their parents anyway.

I have to bitch about something (again, it's me, you didn't click over the Lollipops and Roses, did you?) I was emabrrassed to be part of that group. As soon as we entered the synagogue - our temple, our place of worship, G-d's house if you will - it was complete mayhem. Imagine 25 four and five year olds and their dozen siblings literally running amok all over the place. Screaming and banging things , and literally trashing their temple. And where were the parents? Sitting and chatting and photographing and completely IGNORING their little heathans. I was mortified at their complete and utter disrespect for where they were. I am not just saying this, but my 2 children were the only ones not misbehaving. Not that they weren't tempted to join the mob ... but Hubby and I wouldn't allow it. So they sat, shocked as we were and watched the scene. Even during the performance there was no control of the situation.

I don't know why some parents think they will scar their little ones for life if they set boundaries and make rules. I believe children want them. But if given no options (and I don't mean "if you sit down nicely and behave, you'll get XYZ") - they will go berserk and learn that that is okay to do. I am not saying that parents should yell and scream at their kids, but have we become so permissive that bribery is the only way elicit desired behavior? What about teaching simple respect and morality?

I lost total respect for the parents of our preschool class that day. And, sadly, a little bit for the Rabbi and Director of the preschool as well. They didn't ask the parents to control their kids. They didn't ask the kids to sit down or calm down. They just stood there with their mouths wide open. In shock. Trying to talk or lead the performance over the brats and their equally as rude parents.

Afterwards, I spoke to the Rabbi. He said his hands are tied. When the kids are at school, his staff is in charge of their behavior. But when the parents are around - the parents are in charge.
What a shame he has no chutzpah (the yiddish word for balls).

Maybe he doesn't want to offend anyone by asking them to control their monsters. Maybe he's afraid of losing members (who pay dearly to belong to the community). But if I were a new family who was even thinking about joining or sending my child to the preschool (at a hefty pricetag I might add), I don't think that experience would have encouraged me to join.

I said to the Rabbi (who, I might add, I beat the pants off of at the Poker Tournament last year - and for that alone - I am going to hell in a Moses basket) "This is your house (and partly mine as I am a member)- and there is nothing wrong asking parents to respect where they are keep a handle on their kids."

I wouldn't invite any one of them to my house, that's for sure. And let me tell you all something- If you are invited to my house we have three simple rules.

1) No using the house or furniture as gymnastics equipment.

2) Respect one another's personal space (stay inside your bubble)

3) And, we don't throw anything here except kisses, balloons or up.

*I'm done fretting over's been weighing heavy on my mind the last few days and I thought if I posted about it - it would come off holier than thou, or anti-religion, or uber conservative. Hope it didn't.


On a lighter note - Emily's 9th Birthday party was on Sunday. We had it at a local bowling alley and they turn on the disco lights and black lights and neon alley strips and call it an Atomic Bowling. It was really fun. She had invited about 12 kids (11 girls and 1 boy) and their parents and sibs brought the total to about 20 all in. Emily was a charming hostess and is learning how to 'work the room' fairly well at her age.

This is Emily's little 'friend' that she swears she doesn't 'like-like', Andrew. She was more excited to see him at her party than she was to get cake or presents or being the center of attention. You can't feel the heat of her rosy red blushing cheeks through your monitors, but trust me - Andrew is her first crush "fo' realz!". He is actually quite a sweet and well mannered young boy. His mom tells me that when they talk on the phone, Andrew goes up to his room to have the conversations. I make Emily sit in front of me so there's no secret chit chat. At her party, I caught them 'hiding' in a corner of the game room at the bowling alley. My first thought was - "Oh Shit! They're kissing!" Crisis averted. They were only in one of those photo booths trying to shove 3 crumpled up dollar bills in to get a bad picture. Phew! I told them I would take a good shot of them and give each one of them a copy (read: post it on my blog ) so they wouldn't have to waste their allowance money.

Later that afternoon, after she opened all her presents, wrote all the Thank You notes and started playing one of her new Nintendo DS games...she said it was the best party ever.

I looked at my little girl and looked around her room at the complete mess of 'things' she has accumulated. I realized at that moment that I have to start dealing with the whole 'growing up ' thing. The changes that happen to your body and emotions . Oy Vey. I've skirted it for too long. 1/2 her little 9 year old friends have boobs already. Crap. I've got to hit the bookstore for a modern day version of Our Bodies Ourselves for her. And me.

I said to her last night - "Emily , you have a desk under all this crap, so why do you do your homework on your bed?" She said " Because there is no room on my desk" To which I said - "okay, next project is to sort through all of the jewelry, sea shells, pencil shavings, eraser nubs, note pads, books and other things that are on this desk and get organized. How can you deal with all this stuff all over the place? " Emily , being a young lady with a quick wit and sharp mind (like mother like daugher) says "Mom, I am only 9 - I don't have to be anal retentive like you."

As I tucked her in and kissed her goodnight - I said " Boopie, when are you going to realize that things would be so much easier if you did it my way!"

She says - "You mean, you'd be easier on me if I did things your way"
Touche baby, touche.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The One with Ragweed and Squishiness and Sleep

Oh hell. It's ragweed season. I woke up sneezing last Thursday and haven't stopped since. Watery eyes, itchy nose...ick. I always forget this time of year. When we moved to sunny California 4 years ago August - I remember feeling and looking like a junkie in need of a fix for about 6's that time again. We should own stock in Kleenex and Zyrtec. We'd be rolling in dough by now.

Such is the price I pay to live in beautiful sunny Southern California!

The other day - Rachel was talking about how cool it would be if we all had SuperPowers. You know, like the family in the Incredibles?

She says "Mom, if we were a Incredible family and we all had Superpowers..ya know what we'd be?"
Me: "What would we be dolly?"
Rachel: "Well, I'd be super speedy, Emily would be invisible, Daddy would be the squishiest and you'd be sleep."
Me: "...?..."

Sleep? I think to myself for a minute ....does that mean I would be able to put the world to sleep to avert the forces of evil? (Like the fairies in Sleeping Beauty who put the kindgom to sleep until the kiss from one's true love wakens the sleeping princess from her slumber) Or, does that mean I bore people to sleep with my mere presence?

Or, does my child see me as dull. A mom who'd rather sleep than play? Upon further introspection - I'd have to say that at the very least , she was partly correct on all counts. I do love me some good sleeping in. But, I wouldn't consider myself dull and boring. Or am I?

Sleep gives me time to rejuvinate from the day's routine, which in and of itself is dull and boring. I am thoroughly physically and mentally spent by the end of the day (or morning, or afternoon) that a good nap or a good night of sleep is the only thing that feels good. Still, I think it's sad that of all the SuperPowers that she could choose for me - would I want to have the power of sleep under my cape? A mom's SuperPowers should be more protective than sleep inducing. Shouldn't it? So I ask you all - if you could have a SuperPower, what would it be? Take this quiz to find out.
(By the way - I am The Hulk according the quiz...much more formidable than The Bore, don'tcha think?)

I guess I am lucky she didn't think I was squishy. That would have sent right out of my sweat pants and to the nearest Jenny Craig...after a good nap , that is.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The One Where She Wonders If All Drains Really Do Lead the Ocean

It's a sad day here at our place. Well, it didn't start out that way.

Soccer Saturday was a huge success. Emily's team tied 2 all. Rachel's team won 4-2. Rachel scored a goal today! You should have seen her little face light up! She gave me the thumbs up and got back in the scrum. Pirate Booty for snack...(yes)!

Then I take Emily to the Mall for her birthday shop. We hit "the Limited Too!" and I cringe for the whole 30 minutes we are there. What a rip off that place is. Lull the tweeners into a false sense of security with your all that bling and the offer of $5.99 Webkins with purchase. Big 'Shop til You Drop' sale banners flying all over the place. Two for $12.oo camis with built in bras in every color of the rainbow....built in bras for whom? Then - you get to the cash register...and even with your $25 off coupon you still pay $139.00 for two skorts , two tops and a sweater. Oh- and the Webkins. Gotta get one for the little girl, too.

And, then back at home- I saw it.

(Backstory) They are not suppose to live this long. We've had him for over a year. People buy these things as food for bigger things! But he's mine and I love him. I change the water and feed it and find day care for it when we go out of town. Yet another thing to schedule and clean and feed. I thought we had avoided a potential problem earlier in the week...when I went to clean the bowl and accidentally broke it. Quick -get the largest glass mixing bowl you've got! Phew! Gotta get to the pet store tomorrow.

But the days in the replacement bowl have not been the same. Not the usually perky, voracious eating 'shark-man' that we have come to know and love. Looking a little green around the gills, dude - seriously.

I'm sorry I failed you Sharky the Goldfish. Truth be known, I loved watching you swim in your 1 gallon world. Eating your own doody and then spitting it out. You were MY pet. And. I. Miss. You.

R.I.P. fishy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I Am A Liar and A Cheat

I Never thought I would ever do this. I make commitments and keep them. I take my integrity very seriously. I have trouble with people who cheat and are dishonest. A promise is a promise. It may not be easy to keep...but, hell - who said it was going to be easy?

But today - I succumbed to pressures of the outside world. For some people, cheating is like eating. They do it every day to survive. One binge covers up another. And so on and so on...until you are not sure where the line between right and wrong intersect.

The temptation was too much for me to handle. Maybe it was the carnival glass hand bowls and the promise of a 10 minute foot massage. Maybe it was the exotic and intoxicating aroma eminating from your premises.

I did it. I went to a new nail person. And....Anthony (or An as you were born) it was fabulous!

And it was my first time too... with a man . He was gentle and really listened - the way a first time should be. Man- if you could make pasta the way you swing that little brush - I might be tempted to leave my Hubby for you forever.

Sorry Kathy (or Xoi, or Lyn - or whatever Anglo name you are using this month). I hope you don't read my blog. I am sure you don't , because I have been following you around for 3 years and you still don't know that I am a picky little fake nail wearing Ho.
Anthony had me at 'hi lady'.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It All Started Out Like Any Normal Day

We had made the decision to move from Florida to the Washington DC area so he could advance his career with the restaurant group. I was to stay in Florida and continue working until January when I would be vested, and then the Company would try to find me a position in Maryland or Northern Virginia. Things were looking up for us financially and professionally!

Hubby was starting his new job today! He had a very early flight into Washington in order to be at Pentagon City for a restaurant opening and was to land in DC at around 8:45a.m. I had a winery rep in town and we had plans to tour accounts and had a few meetings at our distributor. I brought the baby to the nanny at 8:15 am, and went to get my nails done.

Sitting at the nail salon, they had the Today Show on the television as they do every day. Sipping coffee, laughing and chatting. It all started out like any other day. Katie Couric says, "an airplane has just hit the World Trade Center" Was it an accident? Oh, those poor people. We sat there - in utter horror - not knowing if it was real or not. The first plane hits the tower at around 8:50. The vision is still burned in my brain. While we are all aghast at the imagery - the second hits. This was no accident. The t.v reruns the images over and over again. I can't call hubby- he's on a plane...we hear the broadcaster's announce that a 3rd and 4th plane have been hijacked and are heading to D.C. My head is spinning - I call the nanny to check on the baby, my parents, my sister - everyone is okay.

When they said the Pentagon and the White House were the apparent targets ...I thought it was the end of life as we had known it. And- Hubby's restaurant was right next door to the Pentagon. That realization sent me off the edge. When the Pentagon was hit - it was all I could do keep it together. Cell phone lines were jammed up...was he still on the plane? Was he on THAT plane? Would there be more and more and more? At that point - nobody knew anything. We all just sat there - crying, praying, worrying....I was literally on the floor- sobbing and frantically dialing and redialing that damned cell phone. Pick up the phone ! Answer the damned phone! Please!

I finally reached Hubby and knew he was safe. He had landed, and didn't know what was going on until he was off the plane. He managed to get one of the last rental cars out of the airport. Luckily, we had friends in nearby Rockville, MD - I told him to call them and go there. If it were the end of the world (which at that point - I thought it was) I just didn't want him to be alone.

I was not calm, cool and collected - I was a mess. My friend at the salon called my parents to come and pick me up which they did. We all sat at their house and watched the next few hours unfold. The collapse of the builings. The rubble and utter carnage of it all. People literally covered in building debris. Walking aimlessly - where the hell could they go? The news footage was unbelievable. How could something like this happen to our country? How can you plan for something like this? What happened was so far removed from anything we , as Americans, could ever imagine - there was no disaster training in place to handle this kind of disaster.

As it turned out - I knew so many people that day who were on planes that morning en route to NY, Boston or D.C - and thank god none were involved on those 4 fateful flights. I also know people who worked in the Towers, and made it out.

Hubby was safe and at our friend's house, I was with my parents and when I could finally drive - I went home and picked up the baby. I sat on the couch watching Emily play - unaware of what was going on. Calling everyone and anyone who wanted to talk to me. I wasn't alone- but felt eerily lonely at that point. It took me a few days to shake the disbelief and fear - although I have to say it has never really left me.

For me- September 11th, 2001 will be the day that lives in infamy.

It was indeed not a day like any other.

Monday, September 8, 2008

So Much to Do...So Little Time

#6 Emily the Blue Angel
#2 Rachel the Fireball

First of all...I just want to say thanks to everyone who read and commented here over the past few days. I would like to say that I will be able to respond to each and everyone in a timely fashion...but that would be a lie and don't lie (much). I will read each comment, and I will get to you all at some point. But- if I am ever going to get my arse off the chair and take care of things around here - blogs gotta wait.


Secondly - today is my Emily's 9th birthday. I am not old enough to have a 9 year old 4th grader. She is sometimes wise beyond her years...and at other times - she's just so...8.

In lieu of treats for her class, Emily wanted to donate something that the class really needs, so we are buying clipboards for all the 28 kids in her class. (teacher request). She really is so thoughtful like that. It was her idea. And, they are fiber boards, so if anyone would like to actually eat the clipboard, they are good for you and should appease the competimommies nutritional requirements. Also, they are peanut free and were not made with high fructose corn syrup or artificial dyes.


First days of soccer season was this weekend. 4 hours in 92 degree heat Lots of fun.

Pictures above. Video below. Even little Rachel played. She's actually really good. There were just too many kids on the field and she was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd. Emily played like a champ - even though they lost 3-2. One down, eleven games to go. Can't wait. Rah.
(I know I said I don't lie...gimme a break)


Hubby and I went out Saturday night for steak dinner and on the way home - found a DIVE bar here in town...with real old fashioned juke box and pinball machines. I didn't know our little 'burb had this place. Next time - it's PacMan all the way!

Steak Dinner with bottle of Pinot Noir $200.00
Babysitter $60.00
Two cold draft beers and 18 holes of PGA video goldf $12.00
Night out with hubby full of laughs so much so that I don't mind the little hangover the next day = PRICELESS!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm a Sassy Pants!


I am so excited! After months of reading , writing and commenting - my blog is sassy. As in The Secret's in the Sauce brand of sassy...Look over there on my side bar - and there on the other side - Yup, we're lousy with sassy sauce here at Swirl Girl's Pearls.

I am today's feature - so sit back, a little vino would be keeno (what the hell, it's four o'clock somewhere) , go here and enjoy (I hope).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Hubby Would

Hubby would ride the perils of Sea World's Flying Elmo on a 98 degree day just because.
Hubby would ask a stranger to take a picture of us in a gorgeous sunset.
Hubby would let his kids take him out for Father's Day brunch and he would pay for it.

Hubby would take a shot at me if he could really do it. Sometimes I think he'd like to do it without the big puffy gloves.

Hubby would dig the perfect hole for an hour just so our kids could jump into it - for a second.
And mommy could get this priceless picture.
Hubby would wait on line at Finding Nemo in Disneyland for 3 1/2 hours (seriously, that was a 3 1/2 hour wait for a 10 minute ride) just so he could see these smiles (look below)
yeah- these smiles = priceless.

Hubby would give his right arm for his children. He let's them literally beat the stuffing out of his right arm and laughs the whole time.

Everyone would love to give Hubby a hug and Hubby would let them.
Hubby would let his girls make him all fancy for the princess ball. You should hear him read Horton Hears a Who in all the Suessical voices. And, I wouldn't even play Polly Pockets with my girls, but Hubby would and has and will again!

Hubby would walk on hot coals - or cold wet rocks - for his kids.
Or me for that matter.

Honey Do? Hubby Do.

Happy Birthday David - I love you!

Why is it Called Labor Day When Everyone Has the Day Off?

Carbo loading for the duration of the game
Mom, I don't need that tissue anymore!

"Next time, remember to bring the travel pack of Kleenex"
How not to set a good example for your children.

Emily was so psyched to see herself on the Jumbotron , catch foul balls or see movie stars!
Who am I kidding - she was psyched for cotton candy, ice cream, and a hot dog. She said she would just drink water instead of soda because she thought she was getting too much junk today.

Field level tickets to the Labor Day Dodgers Game : priceless (thanks mr. vendor man)

Parking Pass to Labor Day Dodger Game: unbelievably priceless (front row parking)

Two beers, two Dodger dogs, two soft serve ice creams, one gigantic hot pastrami sandwich from Cantor's Deli (for two) one 16 ounce bottle of water, one bag of popcorn, cotton candy = $103.87

No shit. $8.00 for a Budweiser. And that is in dollars, not Euros. That's like $1.00 an ounce. There's only a few things that if they cost $1.00 an ounce , that would be a good thing. And two of them are illegal.